The state Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of West Virginia’s right-to-work law, overturning a Kanawha Circuit Court ruling. Organized labor had argued that allowing non-union workers to work in union shops represents an illegal taking of union resources since the workers would be covered by any collective-bargaining agreements the union negotiates.
In a majority opinion, Justice Evan Jenkins wrote, “There simply is nothing in the Act that prevents workers from voluntarily associating with labor unions; instead, the Act operates to protect workers from being forced to associate with labor organizations they do not wish to join or fund.”
Jenkins added, “The obligation on certain labor organizations to provide collective bargaining and grievance services to non-member workers is imposed by federal law, not the Act.” Read the Supreme Court’s majority opinion here.
NFIB worked hard on behalf of its members to help pass West Virginia’s right-to-work law in 2016.
“Some people say right-to-work is anti-union, but that simply isn’t true,” said Gil White, NFIB’s state director for West Virginia. “If you want to join a union, you’re free to join a union. What right-to-work means is that you don’t have to join a union in order to get a job and support your family. It also means you can’t be fired for joining a union.”
White said being a right-to-work state makes West Virginia more competitive regionally and nationally. “Employers consider a state’s right-to-work status when deciding where to locate or expand, and attracting more jobs to West Virginia would create more opportunities for local businesses.”